CNY cooking

Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year is a major celebration amongst the Chinese, occurring in January or February every year according to the lunar calendar.

In my childhood, I remember what an effort my Mom put in, getting up at dawn to cook for all the visiting relatives. There were so many visitors we would have to cook rice multiple times in the cooking pot, so some had to wait their turn to eat. All the aunts when they arrived would help serve and wash up, buy nobody could help with the cooking as that was Mom’s domain and she wanted no help.

There would be braised pork, chicken, mixed vegetables, stuffed vegetables, homemade Chinese sausages, pork stomach soup, bean curd skin with meat stuffing. Somehow I thought one day I would learn and magically produce these meals when my turn came, but that didn’t happen. Instead I learned my own dishes and produced smaller meals for smaller gatherings. But that too came to end with restaurant meals and restaurant quality takeaways.

So now we have instead learnt how to properly heat up delicious food from restaurants and plate them. The Covid-19 forehead thermometer has a setting for surface temperatures that is useful to check on defrosting foods.

Mom’s recipes are probably gone forever, although she kept handwritten books which may still show up some day. She went from not having to cook, to telling me she has forgotten and now totally forgetting that she could. We’re all happy that she continues to enjoy eating good food.


I’ve spoken about the new home help for Mom in a previous post. As some of you have mentioned, sharing your home with someone new can take some getting used to. Well, I think I can get used to it…

I find cooking is a lot easier when there is someone else to do the chopping, dicing, frying and whatever else needed doing as well as washing up. So all I need to do is decide on the dish, get the ingredients and recipe, and give instructions. Then hang around the kitchen making little tweaks, tasting and adjusting.

Yep, I can get used to this way of cooking.


Words that Move

The Power of Words. Of course, words are powerful – we are blog readers and writers, and we believe in the power of words. Sometimes, just a few words said in brief conversation convey a wealth of meaning and have a lasting impact. Let me relate some examples that happened to me, and please tell me what you think.

Recently, I was updating a specialist about how another specialist slipped up in my mother’s care. He reminded me what was important was that Mom was okay, and added with a sly smile, “Your mother doesn’t need any specialists, she has you.” Wow! Powerful words indeed! It was so unexpected that It made me laugh, yet gave me such a boost. At the same time, it was a reminder that as my mother’s daughter, it was also my responsibility to watch out for her. I will definitely remember this.

Several years back, an old retiree asked me if I cooked, and I bemoaned the fact that I had a very limited repertoire and cooked only a few times a month, if at all. “Excellent!” he said, and encouraged me to keep at it. “A mother’s cooking is special, and your children will return to it and appreciate the home cooked flavors.” Over the years, I’ve found that he is right. I still have only a few dishes, but these are now reliably good and relished when produced! The old gentleman’s few words and quiet confidence was compelling enough to create a real difference to my home.

For my last example, let me start with the wrong thing people say when I tell them I am now divorced…
1. “Oh, no! What happened, what happened?!”
2. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

Arrggghhhh!!! Wrong things to say to me. If you’re a close enough friend, I’d have let you know. Otherwise, buzz off and no condolences needed – it wasn’t a good thing I buried.

I finally heard the right thing, and it was said with some regret “Oh, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that…. When did this happen?” Ah, thank you for not saying you’re sorry it happened.